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Wednesday 21 August 2013

The visit of Pillay

The next installment on “Let them die to maintain the hegemony of western science” has to be postponed to pen a few words on the visit of Ms. Navaneethan Pillay originally from Natal in South Africa where the Dutch settled down Vellala people or agricultural labourers brought to that part of the world from present day South India. However, I am not implying that Ms. Pillay is a descendant of the Vellalas brought to Natal by the Dutch. It has to be noted that there was no India as such when the Dutch were busy in changing the democratic pattern of Sri Lanka using military power by bringing Vellala people from present day South India to the Jaffna peninsula. It was forced settlement by a colonial power, and it is based on such settlements and the settlement of Muslims when they were harassed by the “democratic” Portuguese Catholics, by the “intolerant” Sinhala Buddhists that the Indo Lanka Accord that is defunct now, proclaimed that the Eastern and Northern provinces of Sri Lanka, that came into existence only in 1889, are the historical habitats of the Tamil speaking people in the country.

Ms. Pillay could begin her “investigations” by studying the loss of human rights of the Sinhala people due to forced settlements of Tamils by the Dutch and the English in the present day Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. What cannot be understood is why this demographic change that was forced on us by the colonial powers cannot be rectified by settling Sinhala people in the present Northern and Eastern Provinces. If the Sinhala Kings could settle Muslims in the areas known today as the Eastern Province (the then Ruhunu Rata) why cannot the present government settle Sinhala people in those areas if there is a need for land among the Sinhala people? Is it because these areas are treated as so called historical habitats of the Tamil speaking people? It should be pointed out that as late as the fifties when applications were called for land distributions in Iranamadu the Tamils in general did not apply as probably there was no need for land among the Tamils. The so called educated Tamils were interested in jobs and privileges in Colombo leaving the “uneducated” to remain in the Jaffna peninsula. The “educated” also took up politics to become the leaders of the country, and not only Jaffna, with the connivance of the English governors. The present Tamil problem stems from this ambition of the Vellala Tamil leaders which could not be realized even with the assistance of the English governors and officials.  

I wanted to entitle this article “Ignore Pillay” but then it would have led to a contradiction as I would not have ignored her by writing on her visit. These are internal contradictions one comes across in writing or speaking (using a language) and often these contradictions are ignored by the writers as well as readers or speakers and listeners. Is it possible to write an article on Ignore Pillay ignoring her?  In any event it is clear that Ms. Pillay is ignoring the Sinhala Buddhists in the country as to my knowledge she is not interested in the violation of human rights of this category. Is she expected to meet any Sinhala Buddhist leaders? Some interested parties in the NGO sector as well as some political parties would most probably “enlighten” her on the Rathupasvela incident but that would not be for the love of the Sinhala people but for the hatred that they have towards the government. These very same parties had violated the human rights of the Sinhala people when they were in power beginning with the “hartal” of 1953 and the Sinhala people would not be fooled by the crocodile tears of the leaders of these political parties as would be demonstrated by the results of the forthcoming Provincial Council elections in the Central and the North Central Provinces. Could Ms. Pillay remain as an “international observer” of course with the permission of the Commissioner of Elections to monitor the elections? Even in the Northern Province the government would not do badly though the TNA would capture power in the first ever Provincial Council. The opposition parties as usual would complain of corruption and “computer gilmart” but Ms. Pillay could find out for herself the development that has taken place in the country including the Northern Province, though I myself am not happy with the type of development taking place.   

Now there will be complaints of the armed forces being present in the Northern Province and a former General of the Army being the governor of the Northern Province especially during the election period. It would have been better if the armed forces were not present in the Northern Province more than in the other provinces but unfortunately it is mainly in the Northern province there are Tamil racists whom have to be monitored as no others whether “international” or NGOs monitor them. Tamil racism is still present in the Northern Province with the tacit support of India and the western powers as the recent statement by Solheim with respect to the visit of Ms. Pillay would testify. Then TNA politicians such as Sampanthan and Sumanthiran, who are mainly based in Colombo, meeting the so called Tamil Eelam government bigwigs makes matters worse. The Tamil politicians whatever they say for the consumption of the Sinhala people are still following Chelvanayakam’s little now more later policy as described by none other than his son in law A. J. Wilson in the biography of the founder of the Eelam politics (Suntharalingam only gave the name Eylom) and as long as that type of politics is practiced there is no other alternative but to keep the armed forces in the Northern Province. The Tamil racist politics is against the Sinhala people thus violating the political cultural and historical rights of the latter.

Ms. Pillay may not be interested in the cultural historical and political rights of the Sinhala people. However, all these talks on multiculturalism in a strong sense are against those rights of the Sinhala people, especially of the Sinhala Buddhists. In the whole world there is no country in which multiculturalism in the strong sense is practiced and one cannot find such countries especially in the western world with which Ms. Pillay is familiar. All the western countries at present are Christian countries culturally and politically though there may be other cultures present in those countries. Even India is culturally, politically and historically a Hindu country though there are Muslims in the country. It is better not to speak of Buddhists in India who are still discriminated now more because most of them are so called Dalits.  Some of these countries may be secular on paper (in the constitutions etc.) but they practice multiculturalism in a weak sense. Not all cultures are equal in those countries as there are dominant or significant cultures. In England Anglo Saxon Christian culture is the dominant culture with the other cultures also being present. It so happens that this particular culture is the dominant culture in the world as well. In Sri Lanka Tamil and Muslim racisms are against treating the Sinhala Buddhist Culture as the significant culture of the country. These racists are thus denying the historical, political and cultural rights of the Sinhala Buddhists. In Sri Lanka the constitution says that Buddhism will be protected but that is something that has never been practiced since 1815, though the Sinhala English Accord that was signed in 1815 also has words to that effect. If Ms. Pillay could find time to meet the Sinhala Buddhists (not those introduced by the NGOs as Sinhala Buddhists) also during her stay she could learn more on these aspects.

Finally on the General who is the governor of the Northern Province. There is nothing wrong in having a former General of the Army as the governor of the Northern Province. He knows the terrain having worked as an officer in the area, unlike the bigwigs who descend on this country from the west or India. If a former Judge who wore the wig having had his education in Colombo though born in Manipay could be the Chief Minister there cannot be any objections to a General who knows the terrain to be the governor. If the judges can become Chief Ministers surely the generals could be appointed as Governors. In fact a “general” governor and a “judge” Chief Minister could be a good combination!

Nalin De Silva